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While John Walsh closes one chapter of “America’s Most  Wanted” and opens another, he can reflect on his self-described “incredible journey” from luxury-hotel builder to TV’s top crimebuster in a  genre that didn’t exist before he came along.

The first of Walsh’s four “AMW” specials airs tomorrow night on Fox — its  home since 1988. Meanwhile, the series soon moves to a new home on Lifetime.

It’s been 30 years since Walsh’s 6-year-old son, Adam, was kidnapped and  brutally murdered — a horrific, life-altering experience that changed the  course of Walsh’s life.

“I was building a $26 million hotel on Paradise Island [when he heard the  news] — that was my love, the hotel business,” says Walsh. “I was successful at  a young age and was part-owner of my own company who went from that business  into the horrible reality of being the parent of a murdered child . . . I didn’t  give a damn anymore about building hotels.”

Walsh’s single-minded pursuit of justice on Adam’s behalf led Fox to hire  Walsh, in 1988, to host its new show, “America’s Most Wanted.”

“I kept saying no. I didn’t know d–k about TV,” Walsh says. “I said, ‘What  is reality TV and what the hell is Fox?’ ’’ But Walsh’s wife, Reve, encouraged  the move and, before long, he was shooting a pilot.

“My first executive producer, Michael Linder, said, ‘Look, you’re made for  TV. You’ve got the hair, the voice, you’re a handsome guy and I’m gonna teach  you how to do this.’

“I would get nervous the day before a shoot . . . it was all by the  seat-of-your pants,” he says. “The learning curve was steep. It was torture. I  didn’t even know which camera was on and I didn’t know where to look.”

“AMW” nabbed a fugitive from the FBI’s most-wanted list in its very first  show and hasn’t looked back.

When, in 1996, Fox canceled the show, the outcry from the law-enforcement  community forced it to reverse its decision.

Walsh says he hasn’t always had a harmonious relationship with law  enforcement.

“When we first started, the  FBI endorsed ‘AMW’ but the small police departments were skeptical about the  media,” Walsh says. “I think the cops knew that, right off the bat, I would be  very critical of them. American cops look at me as an extension of them . . .  but I’m not a cop, and I still keep that distance,” he says.

“I could write books about my battles with law enforcement — they’re my best  buddies, then they shut me out of a case.

“I’ve got a track record, but it’s been a little adversarial over the  years.”

Read more: http://www.nypost.com/p/entertainment/tv/inventing_walsh_roxobSmgcUnlhLZnAHsxFK#ixzz1c6kqnhNc

 

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